Cora Harrison

Cora Harrison

Mullaghmore mountain on the Burren, County Clare, Ireland

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Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Thank you, Mary.

Have you had a look at the photos of the Burren on my website. My son-in-law took them on cold New Year's Eve just before the sun went down and I think he made a wonderful job of them. The one at the top of this page is my favourite, I think.

Mon Jul 15 13:18:12 2013

Mary Aston writes from UK
Wow Cora that has made me go all goosebumpy.....I will keep all fingers and toes crossed for you, I would love to see that on the TV but not til I have completed the series! The books are so atmospheric for me and I love them, you are a gifted lady! I am always talking to people about them but I don't want to lend the copies I have as its always problematic lending books.
I have only visited the Burren once and am now desperate to go back as I was very young then. I know the Midlands of Ireland well but not that part at all so you have inspired me. I will keep talking about your books and pray that this wonderful thing happens for you and Mara!

Mon Jul 15 12:24:55 2013

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Mary: It's so nice of you to take the trouble to write and your message gives me such pleasure as well as pain.

Pan Macmillan published the first three books but the sales, though respectable, were not enough for the accountants so they did not give a contract for another three. Severn House, because of the good borrowing rate from libraries took them up, but are adamant that they publish mainly for libraries, with a few left overs for Amazon. They tend to sell out quickly which is what the publisher wants.

My agent has tried hard to interest another publisher, but so far to no avail. The sales are respectable but modest - in fact, I think they are remarkable given the price!

However, BBC have considered a few times dramatizing it - and it has risen high in the list. They like the character of Mara. If that happens then I'd say another publisher would be most interested. Ellis Peters had very modest sales with Brother Cadfael before the series was dramatized.
Thanks for your interest.

Mon Jul 15 08:54:25 2013

Mary Aston writes from Uk
Just finished Scales of Retribution, fab! My god its hard to find these books at affordable prices, the publishers say its because they are for libraries which seems very strange to me. I have read all in order now but only because I found them in a charity shop first and then 2nd hand on ebay. I now have resorted to the library as the cheapest copy I can find is well over £20 why is this ? I am raving about these books to folk but they are just not available. Thank you for writing them, I am off to libary for next two but would prefer to own them!

Mon Jul 15 08:53:14 2013

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Yes, I must look out for that book, Joe. Sad to think of the Burren without the Mountain Avens, but there is no doubt that the habitat is deteriorating during the last twenty or thirty years. With the advent of slatted houses where cows are shut up for the months of the winter (strongly pushed by the Irish agricultural advisory service Teagasc) the cattle are not grazing down the hazel scrub when it appears and hazel bushes are colonizing the stone pavements and crowding out the wild flowers.

Mon Jul 15 08:45:33 2013

Mary Aston writes from Uk
Just finished Scales of Retribution, fab! My god its hard to find these books at affordable prices, the publishers say its because they are for libraries which seems very strange to me. I have read all in order now but only because I found them in a charity shop first and then 2nd hand on ebay. I now have resorted to the library as the cheapest copy I can find is well over £20 why is this ? I am raving about these books to folk but they are just not available. Thank you for writing them, I am off to libary for next two but would prefer to own them!

Mon Jul 15 08:15:02 2013

Joe O'Laughlin writes from USA
Hi Cora,

I've been reading a chapter about what changes may come about for the Burren, if climate warms or crashes cold.
"Mountain Avens" in " Turned out Nice" by Marek Kohn.

NOT the recent "Turned out Nice Again" by another Richard Mabey

You too write of times changing, and the affect on folk.

Joe O'Laughlin

Sun Jul 14 05:45:14 2013

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Sorry, Aisling, I'm not doing any talks for children these days. I really have too many books to be written and just can't afford the time.
Also, I am perhaps getting a little too old for it all!

Wed Jun 19 12:55:00 2013

Aisling writes from Ireland
Morning Cora,

I am writing to know if you do author visits during Children's Bookfest? I was hoping you might come and talk in Kildare libraries.


Aisling Donnelly

Wed Jun 19 11:55:13 2013

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Odon: Oh, how terrible! It's no excuse, but I did write and have published five books last year and I am, by nature a terrible person to rush at things.
I think, looking back, that the plot of this particular book was so complicated that I made several changes and obviously didn't tie up loose ends...
Still, I'm glad that you enjoy the flowers - and yes, I do love gardening, and am lucky enough to live on a farm with acres of wild flowers - soon the wild orchids will begin and I can never get tired of the beauty of them.

Tue Jun 4 08:48:31 2013

Odon writes from USA

I have read all of the Burren mysteries and enjoy them very much. I especially like the way you describe all the flora in the valleys to fully depict the Irish countryside. This is unique among historical mysteries and a reason Iíve recommended these books to my gardening friends looking for titles.

I have recently finished "Chain of Evidence" and am confused by Fachtnan's ability to be in two places at once. On pg. 55 he is sent to Thomond to retrieve Nuala and on pg. 111 he returns from this assignment. However, on pg. 71 "Fachtnan was at her side" as they examined the road. And on pg. 81 "the door was closed by Fachtnan" as they interviewed a witness. And on pg. 107 Mara says, "Fachtnan, would you ask Brigid if you can all have an early lunch." These editing errors have no bearing on the solution of the mystery, but make me wonder if anything important has slipped through. (All page references to the first world edition by Severn House)

Mon Jun 3 20:43:30 2013

Miranda writes from Canada
Thank you so much for the speedy response, I was so excited to read your message. Unfortunately I don't know any movie makers, though I wish I did.

I completely agree that it would be a fresh new take on Jane Austen and if the film script was written as well as your book, it would surely be a huge hit!

Today I went and ordered Debutantes and I'm very excited for it to come in.


Mon May 20 03:15:36 2013

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Thank you, Miranda. What a lovely message to read first thing in the morning.

Yes, I would so love a movie of my Jane Austen books - do you know any movie makers?

I suppose every novelist dreams of a film being made of their books, but I do think that it could be lovely and would be different to the usual Jane Austen spin-offs.

Sun May 19 06:18:54 2013

Miranda writes from Canada
I read I was Jane Austen's Best Friend a couple years ago and then Jane Austen Stole My Boyfriend right after I finished the first book. These books are AMAZING!!!! I've forced almost everyone in my family to read the books after me and they loved them as much as I did! I want to thank you for writing such fantastic novels, that I had the pleasure to read. Jenny and Jane are two of my favourite characters in any book.

Out of curiosity would you ever consider having a movie made of I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend? I promise, I would be the first person in line on opening day. Thank you Cora.


Sun May 19 02:49:14 2013

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
No trouble - glad you had a nice time.

Sat May 11 15:57:50 2013

john writes from USA
oops, I hope my post didn't cause a problem. It wasn't intentional. We did have a great trip. Thanks for the help.

Sat May 11 15:14:46 2013

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
I hope you have a lovely visit.
The little church is well worth a visit, as is the castle - and, of course, the law school at Cahermacnaghten on the road between Liosdoonvarna and the Ballyvaughen.

Sat Apr 20 18:24:57 2013

John writes from USA
Cora, Thanks very much for the help. I just finished Eye of the Law last night and I enjoy being able to associate the places in the story with places on the map. We are getting excited about seeing them in person. Just a little over two weeks! John

Sat Apr 20 18:00:03 2013

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Nick: I'm delighted that you like them and, no, i don't mind comparisons with Peter Tremayne to be any problem. I didn't actually know about his books when I started to write mine and when I found out about them I deliberately decided not to read them in case I was over-influenced one way or another.

Of course, the two series are very different. My Mara is a professional - it's her job to solve crimes, whereas Sister Fidelma is more of the 'Miss Marple' type of detective - crimes occur wherever she goes and then she solves them.

Also, of course, my series is set in the last days of Brehon law and I hope there is a certain 'fin de siecle' feeling about them - Mara knows that the laws will not survive English rule.

The London Murder Mysteries were written for children (though lots of adults seems to enjoy them) and are my tribute to Dickens, an author that I love.

Wed Apr 17 18:45:07 2013

nick roberts writes from huntingdon uk
I was lucky enough to find a copy of your first Burren mystery and thoroughly enjoyed everything about it. I am expecting to be laid up for a short while after a back op and have the remainder in the series to look forward to. It is great when you label them "first ,second " etc as the reader gets a complete picture. I am looking forward to starting on your London mysteries series and wonder if these too should be read in order. I expect you find comparison with Sister Fidelma rather odious but I have to say I really enjoyed the character of Mara as much and the sections about Irish law and daily life in Ireland more. I hope you feel inspired to pick up your quill and write some more. Many thanks

Wed Apr 17 17:32:33 2013

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
John: There is no problem about parking on the road. Everyone does it -the farmers around are all very welcoming. The route up the mountain is now very well signposted with alternate routes - depending on your level of fitness. I am very unfit and elderly, but managed fine. Go past the lake, right up almost to the end of the road before the turn and park there where the notice board is, on your left - plenty of room to turn afterwards, or you can go ahead and come out by Carron, passing Castletown.

Yes, they are the same - you do get such a lot of different spellings of place names because they were written down at different times by people who didn't speak Gaelic (bh in Gaelic is pronounced like a v in English - generally the h is a substitute for a dot over the letter - something which either mutes the letter or turns it into a v sound - or something else - very complicated language!

Yes, indeed, the abbey is the one that I wrote about in 'Writ in Stone'. I didn't use the word 'Corcomroe' because I don't know why it is called that - it's in the kingdom of the Burren, not Corcomroe. Do go and see it and look at the carved 'harebells' - some guidebooks call them bluebells, but they are not - bluebells don't grow wild on the Burren, but harebells are everywhere and are incredibly beautiful. I love that abbey.

Sorry not to have replied earlier - have just returned from the London Book Fair.

Wed Apr 17 10:20:47 2013

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
I look forward to seeing you and your friends, Brenda - if all goes well. I do go away quite a lot, but hopefully will be around then.

Wed Apr 17 10:03:42 2013

John writes from USA
Sorry to bother you again. So I did a bunch of searching on Mullaghmore Mountain. I got the impression that there was no real place to park except on the side of the road and without knowing what I am doing I wouldn't want to offend someone by trespassing or parking illegally. I found information on guided walking tours but all of the ones I found need to be arranged in advance and I am concerned that I really don't know our timing for everything that well. Am I making things harder than I need to? We also came across a guided walking tour at "the Burren center". It leaves at a specific time each day but I wouldn't feel bad if I missed that if I got lost or something. Do you know anything about that? I really appreciate your help. I finished off "Writ in Stone" this morning and I should have the next book by Tuesday. Regards, John

Mon Apr 15 00:37:50 2013

John writes from USA
Thanks Cora. I got my copy of the map "The Burren" a couple of days ago. I also got the OSI map #51 which covers the same area. I have a couple of questions though. I find a mountain Cappanawalla but I haven't found Cappanabhaile. Are they just different names for the same place? I have just started Writ in Stone and I was wondering if the Abbey mentioned is based on the Cistercian Abbey Corcomroe that I find on the maps? We will be staying near Doolin when we visit. Hope all is well with you, regards, John

Sat Apr 13 00:28:11 2013

Brenda McDonald writes from Ontario, Canada
Thank you for posting a response Cora. We will be driving from Mallow to Ballyvaughn on September 13th. If you are available the 13th or 14th we would love to meet you.

Thu Apr 4 21:39:11 2013

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